We recently caught up with Charles McKendrick, Inverclyde’s Naloxone Lead to chat about this important programme.
Can you tell us a bit about Inverclyde Naloxone Programme? What is it, what does it involve, where did it come from?
Naloxone is an evidenced-based drug which reverses the effects of a potentially fatal opioid overdose. It is currently available locally (mainly) through Inverclyde Alcohol and Drug Service (ADRS), Scottish Families affected by Alcohol and Drugs (SFAD) and Pharmacies participating in the National Naloxone Provision Scheme.
Naloxone has a very specific action in reversing the effects of opioid intoxication. It does not produce any intoxication itself and has no effect on people who don’t have opioids in their system.
Through the provision of Drug Death Taskforce funding, Inverclyde Alcohol and Drug Partnership (IADP) established a post with the primary aim to maximise Naloxone distribution, training and accessibility throughout Inverclyde. Initially we were required to tackle the stigma around Naloxone, and other reasons for not carrying Naloxone, to work towards increased up-take of training and accessibility.
We then set out to train and supply Naloxone to as many third sector partners as possible and ensure roll-out to voluntary Peer Mentors to ensure wider participation in the programme.
How did you come to be involved in this important work?
I worked in the Homelessness Service previously and always had a keen interest in Harm Reduction and Recovery. A number of years ago, Inverclyde Council afforded me the opportunity to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Alcohol and Drugs at The University of Leeds and when the Naloxone post became available it piqued my interest. I applied and was successful with my application.
Why do you think this programme is so important in Inverclyde?
In 2020, there were 33 drug-related deaths registered in Inverclyde, which was a 5% increase from the previous year’s figures. Inverclyde has the third highest rate in Scotland at a Local Authority level.
Provision of Naloxone is not considered the solution to tackling drug-related deaths, but rather as part of a whole-system approach. However, it is an important intervention and is a crucial component of preventing drug-related deaths among a range of available treatments. Our ambition is that Naloxone is normalised within our communities and is seen as an integral part of first aid kits.
Can the community get involved in the programme or is there a way for the community to support the programme?
As we continue to roll out the Naloxone programme, we welcome any contact from third sector partners who have not, as yet, engaged with the programme. We can discuss training and supply options as required.
If as citizens of Inverclyde, people wish to get involved, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs have an internet based ‘click and collect’ service, where a Naloxone kit can be sent to individual addresses. Training can be done by e-learning. More information can be found on their website: https://www.sfad.org.uk/
In the wider context of recovery, it is often said that the opposite of addiction is connection, and it is vital for people in recovery – especially early recovery – to find a community of support. Community is essential for maintaining and enjoying recovery, avoiding feelings of isolation, rediscovering self, and connecting with others who understand what you’re experiencing.
Can you tell us about the scale of the programme so far?
Since February 2022, 180 people have received training through IADP Naloxone programme and 250 kits have been issued. This is great progress so far and a really solid foundation to build on for Inverclyde going forward.
CVS Inverclyde's Community Link Worker (CLW) Team are one of the third sector partners involved in the Naloxone Programme.
Our CLW team have been trained to administer Naloxone and carry kits in their everyday work in the community. This was in response to the Drug Deaths figures for Inverclyde and the knowledge that CLWs are often supporting those seeking recovery outwith GP practices. They could easily find themselves in a position to administer this potentially life-saving drug and are proud partners of the scheme.
Charles McKendrick and Megan Murray
Jun 28, 2022